Glacier National Park: Pitamakan Pass to Dawson Pass

Hike over three mountain passes into glacier-carved basins with crystalline lakes and bird's-eye views on this 17.6-mile loop. Don't forget your camera.
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Hike over three mountain passes into glacier-carved basins with crystalline lakes and bird's-eye views on this 17.6-mile loop. Don't forget your camera.

Before the Going-to-the-Sun Road opened in the '30s, Two Medicine was one of the park's most crowded areas. Explore this beautiful and now-peaceful area on a 17.6-mile loop that visits sparkling lakes and makes a timberline traverse of the Continental Divide. Begin at the Two Medicine Campground trailhead along the shore of Two Medicine Lake, which sits beneath Rising Wolf Mountain.
After a level stretch, the trail starts climbing at the head of the lake, passing No Name Lake on its way to Dawson Pass on the Divide. The hike along this spine yields stunning vistas. Duck through Pitamakan Pass (meeting up with the CDT) and descend to Oldman Lake, where you can camp and fish for cutthroat. A gentle stroll down the Dry Fork Valley leads back to the trailhead. Get the required permit at Two Medicine Ranger Station.
PERMIT: Overnight camping in Glacier National Park requires a backcountry permit. Check out the latest fees and more details at nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm.
MORE PARK INFO: Glacier National Park, (406) 888-7800; nps.gov/glac/.
-Text provided by Erik Molvar, author of Hiking Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks (FalconGuide).
-Mapped by Trung Q. Le

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 28.3

Waypoints

PTM001

Location: 48.48861, -113.367244

Cross bridge between Two Medicine Lake and Pray Lake; bear R onto Pitamakan Pass Trail, curving around Rising Wolf Mtn.

PTM002

Location: 48.511828, -113.377447

Cross Dry Fork Creek on small bridge; parallel creek then climb to Pitamakan Pass. In .3 mi., turn L @ T; leave dense forest for sparsely-covered Dry Fork Valley

PTM003

Location: 48.516192, -113.398497

Cross footbridge

PTM004

Location: 48.51157, -113.445

Veer R @ Y; huckleberry bushes flourish. In .5 mi., catch first glimpse of Oldman Lake, then climb switchbacks to Pitamakan Pass

PTM005

Location: 48.517658, -113.458298

Head W along ridgeline; Pitamakan Lake to the N. In .2 mi., stay L @ Y. (To make this a 54-mi. loop, check out Five Pass-Red Eagle Loop @ www.backpacker.com/hikes)

PTM006

Location: 48.516732, -113.465477

Bear L @ Y

PTM007

Location: 48.518421, -113.472504

Go SW around Mt. Morgan; see Mt. Stimson over Nyack Creek Valley to the W

PTM008

Location: 48.507052, -113.473792

Flat saddle offers intimate views of Flinsch Peak's pointed summit to the S

PTM009

Location: 48.49157, -113.469704

Last chance to savor endless views of sky-high peaks to Dawson Pass

PTM010

Location: 48.487202, -113.471904

Turn L onto Dawson Pass Trail for moderate descent into Bighorn Basin

PTM011

Location: 48.481108, -113.445961

Swing L. Optional campsite: Turn R for .2 mi. side trip to No Name Lake

PTM012

Location: 48.477644, -113.420148

Stay straight with Upper Two Medicine Trail

PTM013

Location: 48.478113, -113.406844

Trail skirts N shore of Two Medicine Lake; head NE to complete loop

Oldman Lake

Location: 48.511658, -113.444352

A large headwall frames the indigo waters of Oldman Lake. ©Trung Q. Le

View from Pitamakan Pass

Location: 48.517704, -113.457718

A lake sits perched above another. ©Trung Q. Le

Flinsch Peak

Location: 48.516739, -113.465327

Flinsch Peak with a furry local resident in the foreground. ©Trung Q. Le

View from Dawson Pass

Location: 48.487316, -113.47126

Lakes and green-covered hills stretch into the distance. ©Trung Q. Le